Open Space Strategy and Standards

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.


Defining open space

We define open space as:

land in public ownership that is regularly available for recreational or sporting use by the community.

This also includes cemeteries and churchyards.

Open spaces are valued community assets. They help to improve public health, well-being and quality of life. They also bring regeneration benefits to an area. In 2012, Cornwall’s residents recorded that 95% rated having good quality open spaces as important or very important. (Cornwall Community Attitudes Survey).

Open Space Provision Standards

Open Space Provision Standards are necessary to inform local planning. Planning decisions should be informed by a robust and up to date local open space assessment. Under the National Planning Policy Framework 2012

Open Space Strategy for Larger Towns

In 2014, Cornwall Council adopted the Open Space Strategy for Larger Towns in Cornwall as interim planning guidance. Pending adoption of the Cornwall Local Plan, when it become a Supplementary Planning Document. The strategy identifies open space local provision standards for the following urban settlements:

Evaluations of existing provision, housing targets and local consultations are evidence for new quantity, accessibility and quality standards. In the case of quantity requirements (area in m2 per person or dwelling), these vary for each of the 16 town areas. Due to natural, cultural and historic differences. It is important to distinguish the different types or categories of open space. In order to ensure the right balance in provision for the community as a whole. Standards have been set for the following types:

  1. Parks and gardens; Amenity green space; Civic spaces
  2. Natural and semi-natural green spaces. Beaches, green corridors, accessible non-productive countryside in urban fringe areas
  3. Public access sports facilities (outdoor): available for community games
  4. Children’s play area – equipped
  5. Provision for teenagers– equipped facilities
  6. Allotments, community gardens, and city (urban) farms
  7. Cemeteries (Penzance and Falmouth/Penryn only)

Twelve key policies are set out that support the delivery of the provision standards. Establishing principles for future residential development. As well as preparation of an Open Space Adoptions Policy.

The document not only informs town framework plans (in 10 areas). But, also developer contributions, neighbourhood planning, property decisions, grant funding. As well as management of environment assets.

Smaller towns and settlements

For smaller towns and settlements in rural areas not covered in the plans. The Fields in Trust quantity standards (formerly National Playing Fields Association). Or Carrick Open Space Standards will continue to apply. But, for these unmapped areas the methodology set out for the 16 Cornish towns can be applied. The intention is that it is used for informing Neighbourhood Planning. Eventuallybeing rolled out to all of Cornwall.

Further information and Section 106

In 2015, the Council adopted a new guidance document on Section 106 contributions. Using the latest standards it set development expectations and open space requirements. It included interim values for areas in Cornwall that supersede previous policy.

For small developments (less than 5 dwellings). Within acceptable range of some form of open space. And in accordance with adopted standards, contributions will be sought off site. Via a Section 106 agreement or planning condition. For larger developments this will be a combination of on-site and off site provision.

For further information please read our:

Where it is determined that on site open space is not appropriate. Or it is acceptable for there to be less open space on site than planning policies dictate. Developers can be asked for a financial contribution (a planning obligation) to meet needs outside of the development. These contributions can go towards the cost of purchasing or converting land. Improving existing facilities, meeting increased maintenance costs. As well as provision and the like for amenity facilities, whether it be for open space or otherwise, in the site's vicinity.

The contributions are secured by a Section 106 agreement. The Council ensures it receives the contribution, and it is usedappropriately. Ensuring the community benefits of Section 106 contributions for open space are maximised.

It is important that the Applications be consulted on, developed and have the support of local interested parties.

When Cornwall Council receives a section 106 contribution for an open space amenity, a funding application form can be submitted.

Please read the supporting advice before completing an application:

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